Genealogy

Major Genealogy Sources at the Provincial Archives of Alberta

The following are some of the more important sources for Family History research available at the Provincial Archives of Alberta.

  • Vital Statistics Records (ca. 1870 – 1980s)
    The Provincial Archives holds records of the civil registration of births, marriages and deaths for Alberta from about 1870 to the 1980s for some communities. There are alphabetical name indexes available for the records created up to 1905. Records created after 1905 are organized by place; therefore, it is necessary to know where in Alberta and approximately when the event took place.

    Please note: The Provincial Archives does not hold records for every year, or for every community in Alberta. Records not held by the Provincial Archives are still in the custody of the Vital Statistics Office.
  • Local History Books
    The Provincial Archives Reference Library holds approximately 1,500 published local and community histories from across the province. Many of these community histories include biographical, sketches of families in the community. The Library holdings also include published biographies as well as histories of local schools, churches and other organizations.
  • Henderson’s Directories
    The Provincial Archives holds a large collection of city directories. These were published annually for Calgary (1910 to 1991) and Edmonton (1908 to 1986). Directories were also published less frequently for smaller centres (e.g., Grand Prairie, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Red Deer). Some directories can be accessed online through Peel's Prairie Provinces.
  • Census Records (1881, 1891, 1901, 1906, 1911, 1916)
    The Provincial Archives holds microfilm copies of the Federal census for what is now Alberta for 1881, 1891, 1901, 1906, 1911 and 1916. There are indices available for most of these censuses.

    At the present time, the 1921 and subsequent census are still in the custody of Statistics Canada and are not available at the Provincial Archives.
  • Homestead Records (ca. 1880 – 1970)
    The Provincial Archives holds copies of individual homestead applications for land in Alberta. The files will provide some basic biographical information on the applicant, such as his or her age, place of birth and date of entry on the land. The applicant’s spouse and children are not usually identified by name. In 2011, the Provincial Archives of Alberta, the University of Alberta Libraries, and the Internet Archive collaborated to digitize the microfilmed documents related to homestead claims in Alberta filed between 1870 and 1930. These documents can be found on the Internet Archive.
  • Passenger Lists (1865 – 1919)
    The Provincial Archives holds microfilm copies of Passenger Lists for the ports of Halifax, Montreal, Quebec City and Saint John, New Brunswick from approximately 1865 to 1919 (the exact dates of holdings vary by port). There is no index; the lists are organized by port of arrival, then by date.

    To find someone, it is necessary to know both where and when she or he arrived in Canada. More recent records can be borrowed from the Library and Archives Canada.
  • Divorce Records (ca. 1918 – ca. 1975)
    The Provincial Archives holds divorce records for several Judicial Districts from around the province. Indices are available for many of the records.

    To locate a particular file, it is extremely helpful to know where in Alberta someone was divorced.

    Court contacts and maps of the current Judicial Districts can be found at the Alberta Courts Court of Queens Bench website.
  • Probate Records (ca. 1884 – ca. 1975)
    The Provincial Archives holds probate records (which includes wills) for several Judicial Districts from around the province. Indices are available for many of the records. Files less than 30 years old will still be in the custody of the Court.

    To locate a particular file, it is extremely helpful to know where in Alberta someone was living at the time of his or her death.

    Court contacts and maps of the current Judicial Districts can be found at the Alberta Courts Court of Queens Bench website.